With the LHC stopped since 18 February, ALICE - similarly to the other LHC experiments - is ready for the operations foreseen for the Long Shutdown 1.
Arturo Tauro, ALICE deputy Technical Coordinator, is responsible during the Long Shutdown for several important missions which are essential to the smooth carrying out of the operations. “I have to establish a planning which is more or less sequences of interventions over ALICE from the day one up to the end” reports Tauro. A huge work of management for the Italian guy as he also has to follow the daily advancement of the work and he has to be sure that it sticks to the planning and to manage delays in order to be operational for the end of the shutdown. “For us for what concerns the access to the underground cavern, we proceed the first year, year and a half, with a lot of action downstairs” says Arturo Tauro. Then from the summer 2014, the plan is to complete the activities such as recommissioning the detector. “This is impossible with people working around the site so we have to put back everything we found on the day zero and start switching on the power” he says.
The ALICE detection system ready for the upgrade during the Long Shutdown 1 period.
Several technicians and engineers, both from CERN and different institutes plus a reinforced team of six crane-drivers work for this project. They will have to install new super-modules. “For the TRD, there are five out of eighteen super-modules which are missing at the moment” he confesses. Another major work, which is started right now, consists in taking out the three PHOS modules for repairs in Meyrin, together with their support structure and beams. A new common superstructure for PHOS plus the new Dcal calorimeter. “The overall weight is 100 tons” he says. In matter of safety, “we are doing a special effort, especially this year, to well document all the things we do. For each hour that we spend in the cavern there are two to three hours of meetings and documentations” he reports. This effort is coordinated by the ALICE GLIMOS, Fernando Baltasar, who chairs regular meetings where the step by step description of all the work that has to be done is analyzed with special focus on safety. In this context “we assess the safety of the work with recommendations and we make sure that adequate protections are in place both for the workers and for the ALICE detectors” confesses Tauro.
Before the first beams, detectors will be exercised. One has to run each detector individually, in the so called “stand alone” mode, to see if the detector responds as expected. Finally they will move to “global running” where they switch on all the detectors together and start playing with the trigger. “This is a very long process. The ALICE experiment has to work perfectly before taking any data” reports Arturo Tauro.
For those who are impatient, they will have to wait nearly two years to see the world’s largest accelerator surprise us.